There is “widespread evidence” of poor quality mental health care, driven by financial cuts, and only 14% of patients say that they received appropriate care in a crisis, according to a briefing by think-tank The King’s Fund.
Around 40% of mental health trusts experienced a cut in income in 2013/14 and 2014/15, and due to this are making large-scale changes to mental health services which are not backed by evidence and are a “leap in the dark”, according to the briefing, Mental Health Under Pressure.
“Driven by the need to reduce costs, trusts have embarked on large-scale transformation programmes aimed at shifting demand away from acute services towards recovery-based care and self-management,” the think-tank said in a release.
In response, Stephen Dalton, chief executive of the Mental Health Network said the report “exposes the institutional bias that exists in the NHS and local authorities when it comes to funding for mental health.
“Much of this is well known to policy makers and politicians and despite the rhetoric about giving equal importance to physical and mental health this hasn’t translated into any new money. On the contrary, funding for mental health services has gone down. Many commissioners of NHS services don’t have the capacity to do the right thing and fund what works.”
The report also found that while mental health trusts had their incomes cut over the last two years, more than 85% of trusts saw their income increase over the same period.
Dalton added: “If this government is serious about prioritising mental health they need to ensure new funding gets directly to providers of care and not channeled through layers of bureaucracy where it is lost.”